Essential Oils for Maintaining Mind Balance
by Trish Green
B.Ed. D. Hom (Pract) BFRP, C.A.H.P, Cidesco Exthetician
Mental health is one of the most talked about concerns in both Western Medicine, alternative medicine and in many aspects of the Spa Wellness industry.
The question is, are you embracing this rapidly growing trend and meeting the needs of your customers?
Clients are in more in need of stress relief than ever before. You can stand out from your competitors and build client loyalty, if you go the extra mile to provide small and simple complementary stress relief solutions in every service. You can build a unique brand for your business, wow your customers and in turn create client loyalty and increasing referrals.
Customize Spa Experiences
Introducing wellness programs and exploring new possibilities and treatments to include in your service menu can be overwhelming so let’s keep it simple.
"Six in ten millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material things." (Steve Cohen, Vice President of MMGY Global).
He says: Make your spa experiences memorable. Move your aromatherapy from the backseat menu item to the front seat of your spa experiences with the guest as the driver. Addressing stress relief, insomnia, depression, pain and other physical and mental issues with blends of essential oils capitalizes on what the technology-driven guests wants and what they need”.
Consider the fact that aromatherapy is an established science, studied around the world and accepted by the medical profession. It can be used in many ways in many different treatments to include all members of the Spa team. When we enter the spa for relaxation and that all important get away from the rush of everyday life we have certain expectations. There is an ambiance that is created within the spa, the soft, relaxing music, the pleasing to the eye décor, and the cozy treatment rooms. There is however the ‘Spa smell’. The luxurious, gentle smell of essential oils that lulls you into that wonderful state of calm and relaxation that greets you as you enter the treatment room.
I have selected, what I consider as truly important oils for overall mental health and compared them to their similar counterparts so you can distinguish between them and make good choices for your client. Please remember that all essential oils are not created equal in quality. You need to ask your supplier key questions about chemistry and country of origin. If you don’t understand how to distinguish one oil from another I suggest taking a class from a nationally certified professional.
Frankincense and Sandalwood
Frankincense and Sandalwood have the ability to calm and center the mind, they are gently tranquillizing and have a deeply clarifying effect on the Intellect. On a day to day level, these oils are suggested for states of mental agitation and worry, or whenever the mind is distracted and overwhelmed.
The yogis describe Sandalwood oil as the fragrance of the ‘subtle body’, the center of the highest insight and enlightenment. Sandalwood exerts a considerable regulating effect and generally can be said to harmonize thinking, feeling and sensing. It brings to each of us a sense of calming, centering and grounding, leaving us living fully in the present moment. Consider this oil for depression, nervous tension, restlessness, anxiety, guilt, and a feeling of insecurity.
As a mild tonic, Frankincense can help uplift the mind and is also an important anti-depressive essential oil. Like sandalwood oil, it is an ideal aid to meditation, contemplation and prayer, ceasing mental chatter and stilling the mind. Mojay describes the action of frankincense as:
“Facilitating a single pointed concentration, it allows the spirit to soar” (Gabriel Mojay)
Frankincense is also particularly useful for anxious and obsessional states linked to the past. In the same way that Frankincense heals the physical wounds of the body so it heals the emotional wounds, especially grief.
Geranium and Lavender
Geranium is one of the few essential oils with in terms of Oriental medicine may be considered as cool and moist in energy. The oil clears heat and inflammation, relaxes the nerves and calms feeling s of anxiety. Like virtually all the flower oils, it is an antidepressant. The Italian doctor Rovesti employed geranium oil in the treatment of anxiety states.
Like Lavender, geranium clears heat and calms the energy therefore can relax the mind, calm agitation and ease frustration and irritability. It has an all complete centering effect. It conveys a feeling of calm strength and security. Geranium oil is therefore beneficial for both chronic and acute anxiety, particularly where there is nervous exhaustion due to stress and overwork. Ideal for the workaholic perfectionist that cannot relax, enjoy life and be in the moment.
Lavender is more suited to the individual in whom emotions overwhelm the mind, however Geranium is better suited for those whose rationality and personal drive deny that place of emotion and impression so it helps us to reconnect us to our feelings enhancing our capacity to communicate.
In many texts Geranium is described as a sedative oil. Mojay describes the oil as calming anxiety but Patricia Davis quotes cases where some clients have become restless and unable to sleep for quite a few hours after using Geranium even in small amounts. She does however therefore not recommend using it later in the day
Neroli and Petitgrain
Neroli is famous for its ability to relieve emotional depression, acute and chronic stress, accompanied by acute or chronic anxiety. It also helps with shock, instilling a feeling of peace. Along with its hypnotic and euphoric effects, it can help reconnect the link between mind and body. Recommended for the emotionally intense who may be unstable or easily alarmed or agitated, Neroli calms highly charged emotional states. This person has the potential to become emotionally exhausted and have a tendency to feel depressed as a result. If in addition, there is unexpressed anger, or feelings of unconscious resentment, depression may turn into deep despair, that is very deep and all encompassing. Through all this Neroli brings comfort and strength assisting in release of repressed emotions.
Gabriel Mojay describes Neroli for any “Deep emotional pain that robs us of hope and joy”
Together with Rose, Lavender and Melissa it is one of the best essential oils to calm and stabilize the heart and mind... Suzanne Fischer -Rizzi describes Neroli as
“Reaching deep down into the soul to stabilize and regenerate. It provided relief and strength for long standing psychological tension, exhaustion and seemingly hopeless situations”.
A recent clinical trial in England involved the use of Neroli oil and foot massage for cardiac surgery patients. The result of the trial confirmed Neroli’s antispasmodic properties. Neroli was effective in diminishing the amplitude of heart muscle contraction, thus benefiting people who suffer from palpitations and other types of cardiac spasm.
Petitgrain, often called poor man’s Neroli and is available at a much more reasonable cost. This oil it still carries the rich, well balanced aroma of its more exotic sister. Easy to blend with and affordable it is an oil that is recommended for those new to custom blending essential oils. As a derivative of the same tree the oils do bear some resemblance to each other both in smell, chemistry and therapeutic actions
Petitgrain is a balancing oil which relaxes the body while lifting the spirits. It has a sedative effect on the nervous system and like Neroli is indicated for calming anger and panic however Neroli is considered more effective with serious states of depression. Like Neroli, Petitgrain it is indicated for rapid heartbeat and insomnia. It has a particular affinity to the male psyche and can be helpful in treating male depression and work-related fatigue.
Sweet Orange and Mandarin
Considered the traditional Chinese symbol of good luck and prosperity, Sweet Orange loved by everyone, has a clean, fruity and uplifting aroma. It is an excellent oil to start your day, uplifting the mind yet placing the body in a state of calm.
Sweet Orange conveys warmth and happiness and helps us all to relax and unwind. More specifically, sweet orange is highly recommended to the efficient hard-working individual who strives for perfection and achievement and has little tolerance for mishaps and mistakes. We may describe them in some cases as perfectionists or ‘A type personalities. They are generally excellent planners who find it difficult to delegate and as a result they become tense and irritable. This stress and a reluctance to call upon others for help and advice often seems to bring about a whole group of stress related symptoms that can send them spiraling downwards.
Gabrielle Mojay describes the action of this oil:
It helps us to take a more relaxed approach, encouraging adaptability and smooth handling of events. This oil covey’s warmth and happiness helping people relax and unwind Associated with the Planet Jupiter, the planet of optimism; it also instills a more positive attitude and approach to difficult situation
Like sweet Orange we consider Mandarin as a ‘happy oil’ Being soothing and gentle it highly recommended as a great oil for use with children. Both oils are sedatives and assist in sleep especially when combined with Lavender. Consider Mandarin for restlessness, intense anxiety and its tranquilizing effect, calming temper tantrums and hysteria.
Lemon and Lemongrass
Lemon and Lemongrass are two fresh, clean and lively oils recommended for use in the Spa. Lemon with its fresh, sharp citrus smell and Lemongrass, strong, lemony and more herbaceous in its aromatic fragrance create a wonderful uplifting aroma as the client enters the Spa. Together they certainly provide a clean aroma and gentle lift in mood to start the day. Its invigorating properties stimulate, revive and energize, so it is also beneficial for the staff not just the guests. It clears the head and revives you when fatigued and can be recommended to your clients for jet lag if and when they travel
The refreshing and cooling scent of Lemon is recommended when you feel hot and bothered and cannot think clearly. Research in Japan has found that Lemon improves one’s ability to concentrate. In one study it was found to reduce typing errors by 54% when the oil was vaporized in the air. Lemon oil stimulates and clears the mind and aids the decision-making process.